1. Clinton Milliken
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After years of being a top reviewer for the Home Depot, I’ve had the chance to review many different makes and models of top line refrigerators. Some were under 1k, and some were over 4k, but for some strange reason, I would get more complaints from readers relating to the more expensive units than I would on the cheapies. Today I would like to help you avoid some of the mistakes that I have seen so many others make when shopping for a fridge, and what you should look at before making your next purchase.
Tip #1 – Read the reviews:
It doesn’t matter if you are buying a refrigerator, purchasing a phone or looking for a new hip restaurant to take your friends to, it’s a good chance that that item has a review or two somewhere on Google. Reviews are the #1 marketing strategy today when it comes to selling products. Reviews really don’t cost the company anything, and if it’s a positive review, it can help sell unit after unit after unit for as long as the unit is still available.
A perfect example of this is Amazon. As a long to Prime Member, and a top 1,000 reviewer, I always look at reviews before I spend a single penny on a product. If the item has good reviews, I won’t hesitate to buy it, but if the item has one bad review after another, I’m gone.
Before purchasing a new refrigerator, look at the positive and the negative reviews on the one you are planning to buy.
Tip #2 – Don’t buy it just because it looks nice:
Is it pretty? That’s the first question my wife will ask no matter what the product is. Many people decide to drop a load of cash on a new refrigerator just because it has a few pretty blue lights and it comes in stainless, but it’s not the looks of the refrigerator that will keep your meats fresh and the vegies crisp. Look at functionality of the refrigerator that you are planning to buy, and make sure it will fit your needs rather than how shiny it is.
Tip #3 – Filter Replacement
The replacement filter is how much!? The printer machine manufactures were genius for coming up with this little trick. You’ve seen it; you find an awesome computer printer at the store and wonder why or how it can be sold at such a great price only to find out that a replacement ink cartridge will cost you just as much as the printer did.
When looking for a new refrigerator, do some research on the type, size and price of replacement filter that you will need to replace every three months. I personally go on Amazon and look for the generic filters as they cost about half the price and work just as well.
Tip #4 Will it match?
Many times something looks much better in the store than it does in your home, but what many may not think about is will it match my other appliances? I’m not talking about buying a black refrigerator when you have all white appliances; I’m talking about the stainless steel. Many consumers think because their Samsung dish washer is stainless, a stainless Maytag refrigerator will match it perfectly. That cannot be any further than the truth, and your new refrigerator may stick out like a sore thumb.
Different manufactures use different gauges, designs and steel manufactures, and also use different stamping tools to form the shapes of the steel, along with different finishing techniques. Every step in the manufacturing stage plays a huge role in how your appliance will look in your kitchen, and if you don’t go with the same brand, they will look completely different from one another.
Tip #5 – How cold does it get?
I have two different Samsung refrigerators, and each have positives and negatives. The biggest complaint that I have with one of the refrigerators is that it only goes down to 42 degrees, but the other goes to 38. You would not think that 4 degrees is that big of a deal, but trust me it is.
The refrigerator that goes to 38 degrees gets my soda, milk and water right to that perfectly chilled level where everything stays cold and refreshing. The other only gets my drinks semi-cold, and drives me insane on hot days as my drinks just never seem cold enough. Make sure to know how cold the refrigerator and the freezer will get, and don’t overlook the deep freeze option and rapid cool/freeze modes that many of the newer models have.
Tip #6 – Knowing when to buy
Buying a refrigerator is not a cheap endeavor. Even though you will drop a nice chunk of change for a new model, there are a few times during the year that you may take less of a hit.
July is one of the best times to make a refrigerator purchase as everyone is outside cooking on the grill. The manufactures know that they are going to sell fewer appliances in the summer, so they always have a July, 4th sale somewhere. Not only that, if you decide to buy a bundle package (Range, Dish Washer, Microwave) at the same time, they will probably give you a great discount if you buy all from the same brand.
The other time to buy these big ticket items are in November and December as everyone is trying to push their products to those ready to make their favorite Christmas cookies, and host family dinners around the holidays.
Tip #7 – Does it fit your needs?
The most important thing to keep in mind before you purchase your new refrigerator is it needs to work for you. I understand that you want to impress your friends with the newest and shiniest toy, but when they all go home at the end of the day, you are the one who is stuck with it.
A few things to consider:
- Is it large enough to keep a week’s worth of food in it for the family
- Can I put a gallon or two of milk in it without it busting at the seams, and can I stand a 2 litter up in it.
- Does it have a middle drawer for the kids to keep their snacks in? Is it easy for them to reach?
- Do the shelves fold up so I can place a sauce pot in it?
- Are the drawers easy to move/slide, or will I be fumbling around every time I want a Popsicle?
At the end of the day, you need a refrigerator that works for you and your family, but still fits the style of your kitchen. Look at reviews, check out the spec and most importantly, go to the store and put your hands on it before you make the buy. You test drive a car before you buy it right?
2. Denny Conner
Bio – Denny Conner has been helping greater Seattle homeowners transform their homes through remodeling since 1980. Realizing there was often a gap between the designs clients brought him and what they could afford, he helped pioneer the design-build service in the early 1990s. He founded his company with the goal of establishing a home remodeling business that treats its customers with dignity and respect. CRD Design Build is continually improving the home remodeling process from start to finish, with the goal of transforming our clients’ homes to fit the way they want to live.
When choosing a counter-depth refrigerator, look for one with an excellent organization system inside since you will have less overall volume. If space permits, choose a taller model to partially make up for the lack of depth. Finally, measure and plan carefully to ensure that the refrigerator door has room to open fully. If your kitchen is small, consider choosing a French door model that does not require as much door-swing area. We like the German brand Liebherr for its clean lines and smart storage options. The LED illumination inside the refrigerators makes your food easy to find and look great.
3. Andrea Palten
Bio – Andrea Palten is Head of Marketing & Operations at Big Chill
When picking a smaller fridge that is counter depth, make it count!!! Our Slim fridge is designed for smaller spaces and features a vintage appeal in fun colors to brighten up any kitchen. We think of a fridge as a statement piece, even if it’s only 24″. Use a well designed fridge to sweeten the look of your city loft, tuck it into your tiny house kitchenette, or garner your guests’ praises in a man cave.
Often space is the key criteria to a kitchen remodel project (trumped often by budget). However I am always a fan of installing fully integrated appliances as they waste less space and make the finish of your kitchen so more sleeker. Two of the most important features of choosing a new refrigerator are its energy efficiency rating and the ratio of fridge to freezer space. If you are someone who likes to eat more ‘fresh’ food as opposed to frozen, then buying a refrigerator with a higher ratio of space for the fridge is key. Conversely, the opposite is true.
Bio – Hagop is a kitchen designer at Apico kitchens.
A lot of the same tips for buying a regular fridge apply to buying a counter depth fridge. That said I always let clients know to buy a wider counter depth fridge than they think they need; if the space permits. because of the reduced depth of the fridge, you’re typically loosing between 2-3 cubic feet on 36-inch fridge vs a 36 inch counter depth fridge.
6. Kitchen Magic
Bio – Since 1979 Kitchen Magic’s team of experts have designed, manufactured & installed more than 60,000 beautiful kitchens. Helping homeowners and remodeling kitchens is our passion.
The debate over standard-depth vs. counter-depth refrigerators is simple: aesthetics vs. capacity. Counter-depth refrigerators are between 23 and 27 deep, while a standard refrigerator measures between 30 to 34 deep. Homeowners seeking sole visual appeal or have a galley kitchen should opt for counter depth. This alleviates the fridge jutting out significantly further than the countertop-creating an eye-sore. The standard fridge, (30-34) full capacity tends to look odd, when it doesn’t align with the countertop, which is typically 24-26.5: deep. Feeding a big family or cooking enthusiasts many need the additional storage.
If you are opting for a counter-depth fridge select a model that has a lot of organization options, allowing for more capacity in a different form. Kitchen-Aid and LG both have a vast selection of countertop-depth fridges with drawers and movable dividers, creating custom storage, thus more capacity. We gave the KitchenAid KRFF305E 5 stars for capacity, durability and fashion.
7. Scott Jenkins
Bio- Scott is the editor and occasional writer for his wife’s website Architypes. Scott holds a degree in Architectural Engineering and is a terrible amateur photographer that won’t stop taking pictures. When he’s not writing or taking pictures he’s spending time with his family or searching for good science fiction flicks to watch on Netflix.
My wife and I bought a counter depth refrigerator about 18 months ago, here’s what we learned.
To get the best price on a new shallow refrigerator you’ll want to keep an eye out for manufacturers rebates. The best way to stay informed about what rebates are available is to sign up for every local retailers mailing list that you can. They’ll keep you current on what sales they currently have going on as well as what rebates the manufacturers are currently offering. We bought new appliances for our kitchen just last year and were able to get a manufacturers rebate that saved us $500. The appliances were also on sale bringing our total savings up to about $800 for the set.
You’ll find that your local stores will be having sales regularly but they typically will have their best prices in the late spring and through the early part of the summer. This is because manufacturers release their new products in the spring so your local store needs to move older models off the sales floor to make room for the new models that are being shipped to them.
8. Dhruv Kar
Bio – Dhruv Kar does marketing for Stoneland, a natural stone supplier headquartered in St. Louis, MO.
So, you’ve picked out your new granite countertops and your excitement is over the top! But how does the old fridge fit in with the new countertop? Does it fit in? Or does it jut out, both physically and aesthetically? We’ll explore how to choose a counter depth refrigerator that makes sense for your situation.
If you’re reading this, then you already know that a counter depth refrigerator (CDR) is 24-26 inches deep rather than a “standard” refrigerator’s 30+ inches. However, this depth number is only part of the story. The given 24-26 inches is just the refrigerator box. In addition, you need to account for the 3/8 to 1 inch clearance in the back for cords and cooling. You’ll also need to account for doors and the handles. This brings the total depth closer to 30 inches. If you want the sleekness these refrigerators promise, measure all dimensions before purchasing!
Generally speaking, counter depth refrigerators are smaller in capacity than their standard cousins. Usually, you’ll find CDRs that range from 15 to 25 cubic feet, while standard refrigerators are between 22 to 31 cubic feet. This can matter a little or a lot, depending on your situation. I’ve known couples that get by with a mini fridge!
You’ll pay more for the sleekness a counter depth refrigerator provides. It gives your kitchen a more streamlined look. This comes at a cost. Specifically $1000 or more. One way to determine whether a fridge you’re considering is worth it, is figure out your dollar per capacity. Comparing that to your existing fridge let you make a decision with hard numbers. Although, there are some things you can’t put a price on!
Large kitchen appliances fulfill two purposes – fashion and function. So your new counter depth refrigerator should complement the overall theme you’re trying to create.
Does it complement the style and color of your cabinets, flooring, granite countertops, and walls? Does it help create the mood you’re going for? Don’t let the choices overwhelm you and this can be a fun process. Good luck and do share your project with us!
9. Cristina Miguelez
Bio – My name is Cristina, and I’m the content manager at Fixr.com, a home remodeling information website that provides cost guides, comparisons, and term cheatsheets for hundreds of remodeling, installation and repair projects.
How to choose the best counter depth refrigerator ?
Refrigerators are integral to every kitchen design, and they come in many different configurations. If you plan on building your refrigerator into your cabinet run to complete the room’s working triangle, you’ll need what’s known as a counter depth fridge. This means that the refrigerator will not extend past the countertop, but will create a flush line, ideal for paneling.
Your first consideration should be to the configuration of the fridge. You can have a side-by-side or a top and bottom model. Side by sides are becoming increasingly common, but they do limit the width of the items you can put into them.
Your next consideration is the total width. While your fridge is constrained by the depth of the counter, you may have room to play around with width, particularly in new designs. The wider you can go, the more options you’ll have for configuration and function for the fridge.
Finally, door swing is your next consideration. Do you have room on either side for the fridge to fully extend its doors. If the answer is no on one side, you may want to go with a freezer on top model so that both doors open to the same side.
From there, energy efficiency, finish – ideally the fridge should match the other appliances unless being paneled – and extras come into play. Having water on the door, smart appliance options or better control over temperature can all make the fridge more user-friendly, but all are options best left up to the user.
- Cost to install a refrigerator: $1,000 – $1,500
- French Door vs Side-by-side Refrigerator, Pros and Cons
10. Paul M. DeFeis
Bio – Paul DeFeis is a Senior Managing Partner with over eighteen years of extensive experience in Residential Design.
Counter Depth Fridge: As a Home Remodeling Contractor in NJ, we find the best way to choose a counter depth fridge is to pay close attention to the style of the door handles, that’s because they need to match the other appliances should you not choose all the same brand/manufacturer.
10 Experts Sharing Tips On Picking The Best Counter Depth Refrigerator